London Breakfasts


At The Haberdashery, in Crouch End. According to Time Out is one of the 7 Best Breakfasts in North London.  I couldn’t miss it, could I?

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At The Breakfast Club in Angel. I believe the picture says it all.

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And of course, at my place. Black coffee and the unmissable Italian biscuits “Pan di Stelle”.

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The curious case of the girl who became a burger addict

“I will never, ever, work as a waitress. I don’t wanna serve people, I don’t like having to work with food. I wanna eat food! I don’t wanna prepare it for other and I don’t want people to ask me to do things for them. ‘Can I have some water?’, ‘Can you bring me the salt?’, no way! I am not gonna do that. I would just hate it. I barely pour water for myself! I rather not have an apple if I have to clean and cut it, how can I stand to do this for others?”

Then I moved to London.
My English wasn’t that bad when I arrived. That’s why I wanted a nice office job. But honestly, how was I supposed to look for an office job when even English people have a hard time finding one? Besides, I needed to work asap. I had a rent to pay, food to buy and possibly I had to save money for my not-so-far-even-if-still-unknown-master.

After spending a few days in the hostel trying to figure out how to find a job quickly I realised what I had to do: wear comfy shoes, print loads of CVs and find a nice way to ask: “Hello, do you have any vacancy at the moment?” without appearing too depressed or desperate or hungry or tired. Well, no, I wasn’t that bad. But certainly I was anything but motivated. When I moved here in March the whether was horrible (honestly, it still kinda is). I didn’t even have my own room, but I was sharing with sometimes 5, sometimes 25 boys and girls. Snoring all together.
In January I injured my foot jumping like a stupid kid. After one week of crutches and a couple of weeks walking like Dr. House, still feeling the pain I asked my Doctor: “Just avoid any effort, do walk the minimum and slowly it’ll get better”.
It wasn’t even a week after his severe suggestion that I was walking up and down the streets of London, the pain as big as ever, but knowing I had no choice – or else, back home.

I choose I wouldn’t have looked for a house until I had a job. What if I found a place where to live and then a job on the opposite part of the city? Nonsense. I kept the room in the hostel and went around begging for a job. Recruiting agencies, shops, restaurants. As a first job anything would have been good. I have to admit I even wondered about McDonald for like half an hour before deciding that if Mc was the only choice I would have gone back home for real.
Poor, but spotless.

One night I was going back to my hostel, without much hope, nor will. I happened to stop at Baker Street Station to look for some nice place where to have dinner. I found Nando’s and I had my moment of food happiness.
I guess just those who know me understand what I actually mean by food happiness.
Anyway, going back to the station after my meal I noticed, right at the corner between Marylebone and Baker St, an office advertising some office kind of job. Simple things. Personal Assistant, Data Entry. I made a mental note to pass by the day after and leave my CV just in case they might help me find something 9 to 5, well paid and possibly in which I could have dressed like a real secretary. Whoa!

There I was, the day after, all scared and performing my worst English trying to convince them I was exactly the girl they were looking for, even though I didn’t even know what I wanted myself. I left the recruiting agency less than 5 minutes later I got in, without any hope to keep me going and kept walking randomly on Baker St. As I walked I turned my head anywhere hoping to find some staff vacancy ad, then I saw it: “Grill Chef Required”.

Ok, the only thing I can cook is Carbonara, and not even properly. But I was confident. Few steps and I was inside the restaurant.
I walked further in and a blond girl came lazily towards me. She barely had the time to say “Hi” when I began “Hello, I’m sorry, I just wanted to ask you if you have any vacancy”. As I spoke I was mentally checking if I was saying everything properly. I didn’t want it to come out as it did in a restaurant in Soho where I said: “Do you have any vacation?” and they had been kind enough not to send me to a travel agency. I had my CV at hand and I gave it to her while she said: “You can speak to the manager”.
The manager? Already? No! No! I just wanna leave my CV, you can have a look, I’m sure you will find out I am not good for it, I have no experience, there’s no way I am gonna speak to the manager.
As I had all this mess in my mind a girl with black skin walked in my direction and  introduced herself. I didn’t get her name. She asked me to sit with her and as she spoke I didn’t understand pretty much anything of what she was saying but I managed to say something. I explained I saw the ad for a Grill chef, but I was looking for a waitress position. She asked me many questions, she also told me that the blond girl was Italian but didn’t realised I was Italian too. I said I didn’t realise she was Italian either. I was just to lost in my thoughts to care about her accent.
Then the manager asked me to come back the day after for a trial shift.
God! I came here this morning to leave some CVs hoping to spend my months in London wearing nice dresses and uncomfortable high shoes and tomorrow I’m having a trial in a restaurant I don’t even know? What do they do? GB..what?? Never heard about it before. I didn’t even read the name of the place while coming in.  
“OK, tomorrow is perfect. What time?”

Your Server is Elena

Your Server is Elena

Today, August 26, its my last day at GBK. I have been working here for 5 months.

I loved it, I hated it.

It made me laugh, a lot.
It also made me cry, just once. – at least that I can recall.

I met wonderful people, and some assholes.
But most of the assholes were, in fact, customers.
And the blond girl who gave my CV to the manager became the closest thing I have had to a best friend in these months in London. And even if I tell her every single day that she is stupid, she manages to stand and accept my bad behaviour.
I am gonna miss Arianna and I am so glad I met her.

Leaving London

It’s just when I leave one place that I actually realise how much I will miss it.
Isn’t it such a cliché?
I started writing about New York just one month before moving back and now I feel I haven’t said much about London while I was living here.
In few days I’ll wake up in Leeds with so many memories of The City – and so much left unsaid.

I didn’t write about the Globe and when I have been there for free for Shakespeare’s Birthday.
I didn’t mention being to Battersea Park, walking in Regent’s Park during my breaks and getting my first 2012 tan in Hyde Park, by the Serpentine.
I didn’t say anything, anything about the Olympics, the biggest event in 2012, not only for London, but for the whole United Kingdom and well, for the whole world.
I didn’t write about Brighton and its attractions.
I didn’t tell you about my job, my colleagues, my friends.

The worst is that I still have so much to say about New York as well, not just London.
So many things I probably never tell.

I often think about my dream post.
I want to tell you about New York and London, together.
What do these two cities have in common? Which are the differences?
No news, how many people wrote about this?
But I want this post to be my own, mine only.

And now I tell you I am going to Leeds, without introduction, nor explanation.

I just keep hoping I’ll find the time,
the will,
the words,
to explain what’s going on.

Until then.

I can’t get out of Waterstone’s without a book.

I just can’t help it. As soon as I get into one of the Waterstone’s  bookstores I feel like buying. The good thing is I am not just buying all the useless stationery and gadgets but I am actually buying books. It is not bad indeed to buy books (if not, maybe, for all the paper that I am wasting, but I am 99% sure the book I buy are made with recycled paper, I don’t feel like killing trees for my own benefit). The problem I need to stress out here is with the loyalty card. I actually feel rewarded by the fact that buying books I earn points on my card and then I’ll be able to buy more books.

Waterstones on Oxford Street

Waterstone’s on Oxford Street

Loyalty programs are the reason why I am always buying toiletries at Boots and doing grocery at Sainsbury’s. An addiction indeed.

But if I need to buy some food and having a bath, I definitely do not need to read. Gosh, this sound stupid! I mean, I do not need to buy books. I can just go to the library and borrow some, right? I even registered at Willeseden Green Library.
But Waterstone’s… is different for me. First, it’s like doing shopping, but instead of spending money in shoes I’m doing an effort of investing in culture (well, I’m not exactly reading classics or manuals, but at least I’m improving my English). Second, they just happen to have stores in all the places I like to hang out: Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, the O2 Centre on Finchley Road. Probably the only place I go where they do not exist are the Westfield centres at White City and Stratford (I am not totally sure about the latter, it’s so big that they might actually have one hidden somewhere). I think in Westfield they just have Foyles, which is a really nice bookshop chain as well. I loved it when on April 23, for the World Book Night, I popped in and they gave me a book for free (“The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox” by Maggie O’ Farrell, which I haven’t read yet – apparently I have a problem with free books). They also gave me a voucher with £5 discount on any book worth £15. I honestly don’t know if Foyles have a loyalty card. Fact is I discovered Waterstone’s first, and since the prices of the books are usually the same, I just stuck on my original choice.

Foyles at Westfield Stratford

Foyles at Westfield Stratford

So, if anyone has some really good solutions to my problem with loyalty cards please feel free to suggest. I just warn you, telling me these programs are just marketing strategies which do not reward me but them… doesn’t help.
I am totally aware of that, I need something stronger.

Like a Dry Martini.
With olives, please.

To be back or not to be back? That’s not a question.

Last time I wrote on this blog I was at home, in Italy, writing about New York but wondering what to do with my future.
Only five days later I was landing in London.

Almost three months have passed. I’m still in London and still wondering what to do with my future.
For a while I’ve been wondering whether to open a new blog for my London experience or to keep writing on this one, even it if is supposed to be american focused.

Time passed, and I couldn’t make up my mind about it. Actually I opened an “English blog”, but it’s just empty and hidden, no one could find it. Probably neither could I since I forgot its name.

What I think I’ll do is try to change this original New York blog in a more general one, where I’ll write all the stupid things that happen to me everyday, when I am not in Italy.
I do not know if this does make sense, fact is I don’t know where I will be in the next six months. I might be still in England, back at home, or possibly in some deserted island selling milkshakes to monkeys. I can not open a blog every single time I feel like going somewhere.

I know, I know… Most people might think I should just stop it. Stop writing. No one really does care.
Well, I do not care either. And I keep doing it. Besides, lately I am so lazy I do not think I’ll be so constant in my writing.

And so, here I am. I’ll just put a new name, maybe a new look, and I’ll be back as soon as my will finds its way.